Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Free Radicals

Overabundances of free radicals attack the immune system of individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome. Free radicals are oxygen hungry molecules that are unstable. This makes them dangerous when set loose inside the body. They bombard healthy tissue in search of available oxygen to make them stable. When the ratio of free radicals to normal cell function is high the body will experience a change in its biochemistry.

Diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia, cancer, asthma, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cardio vascular disease are the result.

There are two sources of free radicals—those produced inside the body and those introduced to the body from an outside source.  Free radicals are a natural byproduct of cell energy. The immune system produces free radicals to attack harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses. The internal production of free radicals is a necessary physiology. It is only when an excess of free radicals occur that they become detrimental. Daily stress will cause the body to release hormones that result in free radicals. This primitive process mobilizes the body to react. If this process is triggered too often the result is an abundance of free radicals.

Outside sources of free radicals are food additives, chemicals, pollution, radiation, sunburn, mercury, aluminum, smoking, alcohol, prescription drugs, and trans fats.

A diet high in processed foods, saturated fats, non-organic foods, and fried foods will only add to the presence of free radicals in the body.

The approach to reduce the presence of free radical stress in the body is to increase the presence of anti-oxidants. These are oxygen generous molecules and when paired with a free radical the molecule becomes stable and does not harm the body. Foods that are high in anti oxidants are also anti-inflammatory and work well for individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome. Salmon, tuna, sardines, flaxseed oil, walnuts, linseed oil, and trout all contain high levels of naturally occurring omega 3. Foods high in flavonoids contain anti oxidants that will attack free radicals. Examples of these are red berries, grape juice, red wine, soy, carrots, green tea, and cranberries. Vitamin A, C, and E are supplements for chronic fatigue and are found in peaches, broccoli, tomato, and melon.

The reduction of stress also reduces the presence of free radicals, which in turn will alleviate inflammation in individuals with autoimmune disease such as chronic fatigue disease, Fibromyalgia, arthritis and diabetes. While gentle exercise is suggested to reduce stress that will help reduce the presence of free radicals, vigorous exercise has the opposite affect. If an individual exercises for more than 5 hours daily on a routine basis they should implement large doses of anti oxidants. With this level of exertion the body produces large quantities of free radicals and instead of the exercise program being healthy it becomes an added risk factor. Yoga, meditation, tai chi, massage and Pilates are ways to encourage the body to realign and reduce the presence of free radicals. These gentler activities will not generate the amount of free radicals that a 5 hour a day regime will. When trying to control free radical stress in the body think in terms of moderation.

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